A freeware program called QuikGrid is available here. This is a great little program for generating- as you might have guessed- quick, visual displays of interpolated grids. The program has all kinds of applications, but is particularly suited to archaeological survey. Sample points such as shovel test pits can be quickly plotted as a grid, and the associated data (strata thickness, artifact counts, etc.) can be calculated to connect these data points as a surface. The surface can be represented as contour lines or a colored gradation between data, and the data can be viewed as a 2D plan (above) or a 3D perspective (below).
The pics shown here were generated very quickly by importing a text file into QuikGrid and basically pushing a button. The text file included only X, Y and Z data. Coordinate data (meters north or east of datum for example) supply the X and Y data; the Z data refer to whatever attribute you want to view as a surface. Depending on that attribute, the data can be plotted very quickly, even in the field if need be. In the example shown, “dummy” Z data show artifact counts per shovel test pit.
Other, more complex programs are out there that do the same thing, but QuikGrid is just that: quick. And it’s easy too. But the best part is that the software is free. To anyone conducting archaeological surveys and in need of quick visual displays of their data, I highly recommend this great program.